Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Prayer request from a friend

My friend J. writes:

Word came this morning that a dear friend, Fr. William C. Smith, passed away late last night after a long illness at the age of 87.

"Fr. Bill" was a good and humble priest, as well as a tireless - and I mean TIRELESS - defender of the unborn. You could find him most Saturdays down on Main Street in Danbury picketing with a small group at the abortion clinic. When he wasn't there, he was writing Letters to the Editor and speaking out against abortion at every opportunity.

Fr. Smith was one of 10 children. He had one or two brothers who also entered the priesthood - in missionary capacities. He was the last surviving member of that immediate family.

I knew Fr. Smith through my mother. He was her high school religion teacher at Mount St. Joseph Academy in Hartford in the late 1940s. Over the years, they kept up their friendship, and I saw him often at different functions.

I believe the last time I actually saw him in person was this past October. My aunt picked him up after a Saturday picketing session and brought him up the street to my house to visit with my mom. Before he left, he blessed me, mom, my aunt and the house multiple times!

The last time I spoke with his was this past January. His birthday was January 11; my mom's was January 15. We could always count on a call from him on her birthday to see how she was doing.

He was open, honest and always had a delightful twinkle in his eye. I remember going to him for Confession one Saturday. After patiently listening to me and giving me absolution, he told me, "Now go in peace, not in pieces."

Just a scant three weeks after my mom's passing, I find it ironic that the priest who most influenced her formative years and helped make her the woman of faith that she was, has now passed from this life to join her at the heavenly banquet. Mom will be so glad to see

Although I have true assurance that he is with Our Lord today, please pray for this holy priest who loved God above all else. If he doesn't need the graces anymore, I know he'll give them to someone who does.

The picture below was taken about 8 years ago following my mom's second hip operation. Fr. Smith came to visit her at the rehab center. He always left her - and everyone else - laughing.